Monday, November 1, 2010

CD Review – The Grace of the Green Leaf, by Lis Addison

It may be fall, but the “grace of the green leaf” endures on Lis Addison’s latest collection of – as the subtitle puts it – “body chants and grooves.”

And groove the CD does. The album is full of driving, propulsive rhythms composed and performed by Addison on her keyboards and synthesizers. She creates graceful, soaring melodies accentuated by ethereal, otherworldly textures and dynamic bass lines.

The percussion is also spot-on. The percussion really shines on the second track, where it sounds like clapping or tap dancing, or perhaps a combination of both. Together with Addison’s keyboards and powerful vocals, it results in perhaps the most exhilarating and exuberant cut on the album.

Addison’s vocals are the most amazing thing about the CD. She doesn’t sing lyrics. Rather, she chants. However, this is not chanting in the typical sense, such as Gregorian chants or transcendental meditation. It’s actually more like singing chants. And although she is not singing actual words, she emerges as one of the most powerful female vocalists. Addison easily could have been a formidable female rock vocalist on the order of Stevie Nicks or the Wilson sisters of Heart. Addison uses her brilliantly multi-tracked vocals like an instrument, one that is so versatile in its timbre that it can sound like anything from a horn or an electric guitar to African tribal chants.

In fact, the juxtaposition of Addison’s singing chants and electronic grooves gives the album a tribal and primal yet high-tech and futuristic feel. It’s a winning combination that makes the CD stand out as the rare and uniquely exotic soundscape that it is.

--Raj Manoharan

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